Economy & Budget

Don't blame Social Security

On Monday, I was honored to join my colleagues Senators Reid, Sanders, Franken and Blumenthal at a rally with more than 300 supporters of Social Security. As Republicans have again begun to talk about dismantling Social Security, these Americans felt it was important to come to the Capitol and make their voices heard.


Investigate the US Chamber, not AARP

As the nation’s largest senior-advocacy organization, the AARP, is hauled up to the GOP-controlled Ways and Means committee for their role in supporting the Affordable Care Act, we’re left wondering why some other groups – say, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — aren’t being investigated for their own roles. 

It was the Chamber, of course, that received a massive $86 million check from big insurance companies to kill reform in the name of protecting profits. (More on that below.) And it’s the Chamber, not the AARP or any other organization, that’s gotten in extremely hot water recently for a scheme by its lawyers to spy on and destroy its critics through illegal means, to unlawfully transfer millions of charitable dollars into their political coffers, and to allow Chamber President Tom Donohue to receive such excessive compensation, it may itself be illegal.


Why credit access is critical to the economic recovery

Most Americans understand that small businesses – not massive corporations – generate most new U.S. jobs. And when these enterprises hurt, they likewise lose jobs in similar proportions.

As influential financial analyst Meredith Whitney observed last May, "Small businesses created 64 percent of new jobs over the past 15 years, but they have cut five million jobs since the onset of this credit crisis. Large businesses, by comparison, have shed three million jobs in the past two years." 


Getting financial reform right

A Google search of Dodd-Frank this morning turned up more than 7 million hits. That’s probably equal to the number of opinions in Washington and on Wall Street about what’s right, wrong, good and bad with the bill. For all these different opinions, however, there seems to be consensus emerging when it comes to implementing the law -- it’s better to get it right than to do it fast.   

That was certainly the shared view of the 140+ people who attended a forum DTCC hosted this week, in conjunction with Managed Funds Association (MFA) and Institutional Investors, on the safety and liquidity of the swaps markets from the perspective of corporate end-users and buy-side firms.


Budget cuts are nothing to laugh about

Good news! Congress finally does what U.S. voters say they want and dedicates 13 percent of the federal budget to life-saving international poverty-fighting assistance.

April Fools!

As the current budget drama gripping Washington continues, foreign aid remains on the chopping block. 


March to stop the freeloaders

The nation’s greedy corporations and insatiable wealthy are fattening themselves on workers. There’s no trickle down. It’s the opposite; the rich have been sucking the economic lifeblood from the middle class for decades.

When reckless Wall Street banksters get taxpayer-funded bailouts, billionaires get tax breaks and gigantic corporations like GE and Bank of America pay absolutely no federal income taxes, they’re getting for free the very public services that enable them to make massive profits in this country – the courts, the roads, the trade regulators, the patent enforcement.


Save The Social Innovation Fund

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report entitled “Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue.” The report detailed the extreme inefficiency that exists within government, highlighting numerous redundancies in programs, limited accountability for actual results, and an insufficient focus on investing in what works.

The findings released in this report were hardly newsworthy. Congressmen and women, Presidential candidates and taxpayers alike have been arguing for reform and efficiency within government for decades and that argument continues amidst the current budget debate in Washington. 

What is newsworthy, however, is that a newly established initiative at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), which was designed to address some of these very problems, is currently under threat of elimination by a proposal backed by some of the very lawmakers citing this same GAO report as evidence for needed change in the way government works.


Will Obama and Reid really sell out our seniors and veterans?

“People don’t get their Social Security checks. They don’t get their veterans payments. Basic functions shut down. And it... would have an adverse effect on our economic recovery.”

The above statement, made by President Barack Obama during the first near-shutdown, has become the refrain of the Democrat chorus over the last several days. One thing they didn’t tell you about their song, however, is that Obama holds the conductor’s baton.


Is a government shutdown in our future?

With the media reporting the looming threat of a government shutdown, it disheartens me that Senate Democrats are not even trying to work with Republicans to cut spending. In no way do I want to see this government shutdown, but we continue to wait for the Senate to pass a long-term budget.
The House passed the 2010 budget over 40 days ago, which included over $60 billion in spending cuts. However, the Senate, run by the Democratic majority, refuses to consider the bill – or any other bill, for that matter. 


It’s time to balance the federal budget

In 2008, voters descended on the polls and placed their hopes for the future of our nation on then-candidate Barack Obama. The promise was for “hope and change” in government, a government that would move our country forward and stop what, by the time President Obama was sworn into office, was a financial runaway train.

Unfortunately, the following months saw the word “stimulus” join our daily lexicon. “Too big to fail” became the catch phrase of the moment as the federal government simultaneously bailed out American auto manufacturers, who had finally been broken by organized labor, and Wall Street banking institutions, which were victims of their own greed.